Golf

Leader Kisner ready for 'dogfight'

American laments missed chance to eliminate rivals at US PGA Championship after succumbing to 'Green Mile'

Kevin Kisner survived a poor finish to limp in with a one-stroke lead over Hideki Matsuyama and Chris Stroud as the third round of the US PGA Championship turned into a battle of attrition yesterday morning (Singapore time).

On a day when Australian Jason Day plunged out of contention with a quadruple-bogey at the last, Kisner eked out a one-over 72 on a Quail Hollow course that bared its teeth, despite Friday's rain and little wind.

Kisner, not the longest of hitters but unerringly accurate for the most part until he double-bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the last, posted a seven-under 206 total, one stroke ahead of fellow American Stroud (71) and Japan's Matsuyama (73).

American Justin Thomas and South African Louis Oosthuizen were two behind heading into the final round of the year's last Major.

On undulating greens, some of the hole locations were extremely difficult, with nobody on the leaderboard shooting better than the 68 by Canadian Graham DeLaet.

Kisner lamented squandering the chance to eliminate more rivals.

Said the world No. 25: "I had a chance to run away from guys and take people out of the tournament that were four or five (or) six back, and I didn't do it. Now I'm in a dogfight tomorrow and I have to be prepared for that.

"I didn't make the putts I've been making the first two days and just terrible finish there.

"It feels easy until you smack one in the water and then it seems hard again."

Despite that, Kisner could capture the title in just his 12th Major start.

"It's a dream to win a Major. That's what I grew up practising and playing, to play on the PGA Tour and to have a chance in Major championships," said the two-time Tour winner.

"I didn't make the putts I've been making the first two days and just terrible finish there."Kevin Kisner

"The way my game's progressed over my career, I like where I am, and I like having a chance tomorrow. It will be awesome to take home the Wanamaker Trophy."

Matsuyama, tied for the halfway lead, had high hopes of moving into position to become the first Japanese man to win a Major.

Instead, he bogeyed the first and never got anything going, making just one birdie all day and hitting more than his share of errant shots.

But by parring the brutally difficult final three holes, known as the "Green Mile" with water lurking, he stayed very much in contention as he entered this morning's final round.

"I'm disappointed with the day I played today. However, I'm happy to be just one stroke back and still have a chance," he said.

Stroud was also still standing despite bogeying the final two holes, six days after recording his first US PGA Tour victory in Reno, Nevada.

"It played very difficult today," said the 35-year-old American.

"Didn't do anything great today but I didn't do anything bad. I made some great pars and, at the end of the day, I've got a chance."

Texan Jordan Spieth surrendered any chance of completing the career Grand Slam for at least 12 months, a double-bogey at the last leaving him 10 shots off the pace.

Pre-championship favourite Rory McIlroy was also out of contention, 11 back. - REUTERS

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